Behind A Closed Door by Adele O’Neill #BlogTour #QandA

Behind a Closed Door def


What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.

DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.




Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.


Amazon|Kobo | Google PlayiBooks


Twitter | Facebook


I noticed the character names are kind of special: the last names are also first names. How and why did you come up with this idea?

Naming a character for me is a bit like naming a child. I like to check the meaning of the names and make sure that the name is one that would have been around when the characters were born. I speak them out loud and make sure they fit the character. It’s important to me that the names are special and strong in a way that make them memorable and easily identifiable and that there is no potential confusion with similarly named characters in the story. My motto is to keep it short and sweet. The use of Tony Kelly’s second name in the first and second book is done to symbolise his position within the force and the acceptance of the other detectives around him by referring to him by his nickname. It also creates the necessary distance between him and some of his less desirable colleagues as using his first name in these instances may seem a little too personable. You’ll also notice it’s rare that he gets his full title of Detective Kelly and this is used in a way to demonstrate his lack of appreciation for protocols and authority and hint at his discontentment with his job. Naming the other character with surnames that could also be used as first names wasn’t a conscious decision but now that you’ve brought it to my attention I’m intrigued as to what was going on in my head subliminally!

There seem to be a few strong women in this novel, which one is your favourite character and why? 

My favourite strong female character is Martha. I love the way she is a quiet force of strength observing and assisting from the sidelines. I love writing females of this generation as they tend to have a good grasp on reality and a determination that drives them to achieve their goal with a lack of regard for consequences in the way that younger generations might.

This is the second novel about families and their secrets and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Why is this and how do you find inspiration again? Will you continue this line of topic in the future too?

I’m fascinated by Irish Society and the way that generations before us have allowed religious and political institutions to dominate the women of Ireland in a way that was deliberately detrimental to their development. They say that Ireland is the Land of Saints and Scholars, I’d like to say that Ireland is the land of Saints and Scholars And Secrets. The patriarchal bias that has shaped who we are as a people has always been focused on power, secrecy and self-preservation at the expense of women and the more vulnerable people in Ireland and in a way by writing a very issue based story that has its origins in the mindset of the society, I get to shine a light on discriminative practices, male dominance and the way that even today, women can be in danger of being oppressed. I’ve always challenged injustices and writing typical issue based stories is just another way for me to get to challenge certain injustices in society. The historical notion that women should be defined by their family positions is no longer credible and the silence that was once afforded to crimes of the past is no longer acceptable or available. As generations mature I suspect that more and more horrific secrets from Ireland’s past will come to the fore and horrify generations to come. A quote from one of my characters is ‘I might not always do what suits but I always do what’s right.’ And this is the premise with which I challenge certain characters by giving them impossible dilemmas and encourage the reader to ask, what would they have done in a similar situation.

Follow Aria

Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Sign up to the Aria newsletter:

Follow the rest of the blog tour as well, first up tomorrow: Good ‘N ‘Ready

Behind a Closed Door


End Game by Matt Johnson #BlogTour #GuestPost @Matt_Johnson_UK @orendabooks @annecater

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour of End Game by Matt Johnson! First of all thank you to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for having me on the tour for the final novel in the Robert Finaly series (a trilogy).

I have a great guestpost to share today in which Matt Johnson explains why he started writing but let’s have a small introduction first:

End Game def


Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.


amazon uk amazon com


Matt Johnson Author PictureMatt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years.

A keen biker, Matt rides a ’99 Harley Davidson Fatboy and is patron to the UK based ‘Armed Forces Bikers’ charity. He is also patron to a newly-formed charity, ‘Shoeboxes for our Heroes’.

In his spare time Matt keeps honey bees and produces his own honey. He scuba dives, collects unusual hats and enjoys hill-walking with his three dogs at his home in Wales, UK near the Brecon Beacons.


Twitter | E-mail | Website


A reason to write

I’ve spoken many times on how a form of therapy that included writing helped with my treatment for PTSD. And I’ve explained that it was a comment made by my counsellor that first planted the idea in my mind that I might write a book.

What I’ve never fully explained is why I agreed with the suggestion to the degree that I was sufficiently motivated to go along with the suggestion. To do so, I need to take you back to 1985. I was a PC in those days, and had just passed the promotion examination to become a sergeant. I was posted to Tottenham and Hornsey police stations for a short period to work as an ‘acting sergeant’ while I waited to go on my pre-promotion course at Hendon police college.

On my first evening at Tottenham, a young man came running in from the street, screaming and shouting. He jumped over the front counter towards me and collapsed in a heap on the floor. I moved towards him and saw blood, a lot of blood spreading out on the floor around him. He had been stabbed and had run into the police station to escape his attacker. This was my first introduction to Tottenham in the 1980s.

I also spent some time at Hornsea Police station where I met a sergeant called David Pengelly. David gave me some tips about the job and about what to expect on my sergeants course. He introduced me to some of his community beat officers, we called them ‘homebeats’ in those days, including PCs Keith Blakelock and Richard Coombes.


Pc Keith Blakelock

I left Tottenham when my promotion course started. As I did so, I was aware that trouble was brewing in the local area. Mobile car patrols had been stopped on certain estates and foot patrolling in the area was only being done by well-known local PCs and, even then, they were always in pairs. There had been some sporadic outbreaks of hostility towards police officers and some vehicles had been damaged by stone-throwing youths. It seemed that the area was a powder keg just waiting to explode.

On 5th October 1985, the Broadwater Farm riots started. David Pengelly, the sergeant who had befriended me at Hornsey, was deployed with several of his homebeat officers into the fray. They were ill-prepared, inadequately equipped and completely unaware of what they were going into.


Police during rioting on the Broadwater Estate in which PC Blakelock would be killed

That evening, in the darkness and confusion on an estate they were unfamiliar with, they were stoned, petrol bombed and, eventually their position was over-run and they were isolated. They ran for their lives. Keith Blakelock slipped on wet grass, fell to the ground and was set upon by the rioters. He was killed – stabbed and hacked to death. Showing immense bravery and armed with ridiculously inadequate wooden truncheons, PC Coombes and others attempted to rescue PC Blakelock while Sergeant Pengelly fought alone with the rioters to try and buy some time for his colleagues.

David Pengelly was awarded the George Medal for his bravery that evening.


But there were many other police officers at Broadwater Farm that night. As with the officers from Hornsey, they were also ill prepared for what they faced. Many were injured, all were traumatised.

Some of them were from Barnet police station, where I was posted on promotion. In the aftermath of the riot, an enquiry team was set up and all officers who had been present were told to write statements including as much information as they could about what had happened to them, what they had seen and any evidence they could include to help bring rioters to justice.


In many cases, the statements produced by the officers from my station were woefully inadequate. Often they said no more than “I went with my serial to an estate in Tottenham. We stood behind plastic shields while hundreds of people tried to kill us with petrol bombs, knives and rocks.”

I was given the job of obtaining better statements from these officers. It wasn’t easy. Many of them were resentful, angry and upset by what they had been through. Many simply didn’t want to talk about it, let alone write a statement.

I remember one particular PC, I’ll call him Michael. He was in his early twenties. In the months that followed the riot, Michael steadfastly refused to write a full statement. He was interviewed by senior officers and even threatened with disciplinary action but nothing could persuade him. He was thought of as a bad egg, not a good police officer. He had started drinking, often to excess and was regularly late turning up for work. He seemed to have an ‘attitude problem’ was insubordinate to senior officers and surly. One day, he was arrested for drink-driving. He was disciplined and sacked. Nobody missed him.


I forgot about Michael until many years later. I was undergoing counselling for PTSD and I began to realise that young Michael, and many of the PCs who had been at Broadwater Farm had been displaying similar symptoms to my own. I hadn’t recognised it at the time, indeed I had never heard of PTSD.

Nothing was done for them by way of counselling or post-trauma care. They were simply left to fend for themselves.

It was too late to help Michael, but I was left thinking ‘if only I had known, if only I had been aware, maybe I could have helped him’. I felt guilt as I knew that I had failed him, as had the organisation I worked for, when we allowed his behaviour to deteriorate to the point where he was arrested and kicked out of the police.


I promised myself then that I would do my level best to make amends for my failure. So, when my counsellor suggested the idea of a book, it sparked an idea. An idea that one day I might write a book that could educate and inform people about PTSD and about how it affects people’s lives.

But I knew that as one individual former soldier and police inspector, I had neither the power or the influence to bring about change, to ensure that all men and women in all the armed and emergency services are prepared for the trauma they will face and properly supported when they do. But, it occurred to me that what I might be able to do is introduce people who can influence change to the realities of PTSD, through the medium of creative writing. Where people might not be inclined to pick up and read an informative work on PTSD, I might be able to pick up a thriller.

And so, I began to write.

Make sure to check out the other tour stop today as well: @Chocolate’n’ Waffles blog

End Game blog poster 2018 1

Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol #BlogTour #Guestpost

Thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for inviting me and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol. I have a super interesting guestpost for you today about the strong pull of domestic noir on you and me these days.



How far would you go to escape the one you love?

When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .


amazon uk amazon com


James CarolJ. S. Carol is the author of The Killing Game, which has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. As James Carol, he has also written the bestselling Jefferson Winter series. Broken Dolls, the first of these, was published in 2014 to rave reviews and reached #1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Presumed Guilty is the first of these.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he can usually be found in a pair of headphones, recording and producing music.


Website | Twitter | Facebook


Old Monster, New Face

Over the last few years a new breed of monster has snuck out from the darkness and made its way onto the pages of our novels. This one doesn’t have supernatural powers or snarling teeth; it doesn’t sleep in a coffin and drink blood. These monsters look like normal people on the outside but inside the darkness runs deep. These are the monsters who share your lives and beds. These are the monsters you’re married to.

But how different are they from the creatures who inhabited the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker or Stephen King? Or to put it another way: is Domestic Noir just a way of repackaging the horror genre?

Back in the seventies an author could call himself a horror novelist and get away with it. However, at some point during the eighties, horror became a dirty word in publishing and that has carried on all the way through to today. Present an agent or publisher with a horror novel and you’re likely to get met with a polite but firm “thanks but no thanks”. Serve up a slice of Domestic Noir, though, and you might just find yourself getting a seat at the table.

That doesn’t mean those monsters have gone away. No, sir. Remember these monsters are masters of disguise; they’re shapeshifters. One of my all-time favourite writers is Thomas Harris. Dr Hannibal Lecter is without a doubt one of the scariest horror monsters ever created. This is a character who can be mentioned in the same breath as Dracula or Dr Frankenstein. And for anyone still not convinced that he’s a horror monster, take a look at where he lives. A dungeon. That’s right – he lives right down there in the dark amongst the crazed and the insane.

So how did Harris get away with writing a horror novel when the genre was as fashionable as flares and platform boots? Simple. He called his monster a serial killer and sold the book as a psychological thriller. Next thing you know his dark little horror tale has shifted a gazillion copies and landed an armful of Oscars. And who would have thought that? A horror film winning an Oscar! Do you see how sneaky these monsters can be?

Fast forward to the present day and the monsters have got tired of living in the dark; they want to live in the light. What better than a nice suburban house in a nice suburban neighbourhood? I mean, what self-respecting monster doesn’t crave a little bit of comfort every once in a while? Even Dr Lecter managed to escape his cell and swap it for a luxury palazzo in Florence.

Like modern-day vampires they need to be invited into our lives, though. Authors do this by enticing us to open up their books. In the brilliantly creepy Behind Closed Doors, BA Paris invited us into Jack and Grace’s lives, then scared the living daylights out of us. And isn’t that what a good horror novel is supposed to do? Lull you into a sense of security then rip the rug out from under your feet?

At some point our interest in Domestic Noir will fade. That’s as inevitable as the sun setting at night and rising the next day. Tastes change; fashion moves on; people decide that flare and platform boots do look kind of ridiculous. That doesn’t mean the monsters will just disappear, though. That’s not how it works. They’ll just morph into something else. I for one can’t wait to see what face they’ll choose to wear next.

Check out the other blog tour stops as well. Coming up tomorrow: Favourite Novels


Only Child by Rhiannon Navin #BlogTour #BookReview

Only Child def


Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community.

While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art.

Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

amazon uk amazon com


Only Child offered me a fresh and novel perspective on what is quite a topical matter which is occuring, unfortunately, with increasing amplitude. When I hear about such an horrific event in the news, I often find myself thinking about the motive of the shooter, why he committed this senseless act, and I think about the people they killed and who don’t get to live their lives, being taken away so young. Not nearly often enough do I think about the aftermath, about the families and how they need to keep on living, about the brothers and sisters and how their world has irrevocably changed. How do they deal with this?

It was an excellent idea to tell this story through the eyes of 7 year old Zach, because he was affected as well and while adults would be able to rationalize everything and explain their feelings away, his innocence and honesty are very disarming, his naive perspective, trying to make sense of it all, utterly endearing. I couldn’t help but develop a love for him and the connection with him made it all the more touching. I felt sad for the parents as well but my heart broke the way they are occupied with either seeking revenge or escaping from the harsh reality into their work, ignoring a little boy’s feelings and needs.

Zach’s confusion felt real (he describes the gathering after the funeral as a ‘party’), he doesn’t understand what is happening to his family and why his parents react the way they do, why he suddenly wets the bed again or why he gets angry very suddenly. Unfortunately for little Zach, his parents each grieve in their own way and he’s sort of left on his own devices. I saw him struggle with his emotions because they are all mixed up but he works through it on his own, he’s his own little therapist and finds a clever way to seperate his emotions in a clear way. To make it easier for himself he links colours to his emotions, like the green colour is for anger because it makes him think of the Hulk.

All he really wants is for everyone to be happy again and he finds the answers in his Magic Treehouse books where each book of the series reveals a secret to happiness. All they have to do is do exactly what the book says but when his parents don’t even listen to him he has to take drastic measures. He’s courageous and brave and is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

This was a heartfelt and powerful debut about grief and the pursuit of happiness. I hope people will take more notice and it’ll deepen the understanding of how grief affects both adults and children.

I received a free copy of this novel from Pan Macmillan in exchange for my honest opinion.

Check out the other stops of the blog tour as well. Coming up tomorrow: The Bibliophile Chronicles


Appetite by Anita Cassidy #BlogTour #BookReview

Appetite blog tour

Big thank you to RedDoorBooks for inviting my on the blog tour of Anita Cassidy’s debut novel ‘Appetite’. Here’s my review:

Appetite def

What’s it about?

Because everyone hungers for something…

Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don’t?

Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother.

David finally starts to learn about the mechanisms of appetite through a science project set by his intelligent but jaded teacher, Matthew. David’s brave efforts to change himself open Matthew’s eyes to his activist girlfriend’s dangerous plans to blow up VitSip, a local energy-drink company where Naomi works.

At the mercy of their appetites, this exciting debut novel shows that some hungers can never be satisfied…

amazon uk amazon com

About the writer

BT 02

I am a writer, a relationship radical, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I am also a lover of old books, new music and (mostly) clean food. Whilst I understand the limitations of labels, I do identify as bi-sexual, polyamorous, kinky. Above all else, I am curious about everything: about life, about learning and about love.

I have been writing fiction and non-fiction since discovering National Novel Writing Month in 2012. Before that I was a sales manager and trainer in the world of regional press and recruitment advertising. I have two wonderful children and divide my time between London and Kent.

Connect with Anita Cassidy

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My review

I underestimated the impact that reading Appetite would have on me. I have a little sweet tooth too but my appetite for something sweet was nowhere to be seen while reading this novel. That’s what a well-written novel will do to you. The impact of sugar is one of the important themes in this novel. I was happy to discover it wasn’t told in a marmish way but I could see the consequences first hand by following David around.

Appetite not only follows the live of David but also of Naomi and Matthew. I caught on very quickly that these three parties have their own individual problems but there’s also a larger picture and they each represent a certain side to one core problem. Naomi works at VitSip, a company about to launch a new drink which contains more sugar than is desirable, Matthew takes on the role of nearly activist, he has a new friend who crusades against the big companies’ sugar production and he gets sucked into her cause, because she’s so passionate about it and he wants to feel passionate about something as well, and David, well David is who it’s all about clearly, he’s the victim here of all that sugar, he’s consuming sugary edibles all day long.

I came to follow David’s struggles with his food-obsession, Naomi’s sex-obsessed chats and Matthew’s problems with the new love of his life. To be really honest, I couldn’t really connect with Naomi and I did have questions about her marriage with Scott and how she could carry on like this. She didn’t even feel guilty nor does she want to go for a new lifestyle. Matthew came across a little weak and when he meets Polly I immediately asked myself questions too. Can she even be really interested in him if all she ever thinks about is her own cause, her passion for Snap Out of It?

No the person that I held closest to my heart was David. Honestly, I never had such an insight into the life thrown at an overweight person. He didn’t win me over instantly though, at the start of the novel I was still pretty judgemental.. someone who starts to eat chocolate bars and drinks cola before school even starts, no wonder he’s fat… but then I also felt all the insults, the stares, the guilt and shame he felt on a daily basis and I came to notice that the snacks and sugars are really pushed onto him. The advertising everywhere, his own mother who struggles with obesitas as well are obstacles that I didn’t see at first but I was very much made aware of while reading. What would it take to change this? Does the answer lie in the hands of the companies, in those of the protesters and activists perhaps or is it all up to young David to make the necessary change?

This novel is called Appetite but it could be called Obsession because all these characters are quite obsessed, thinking every minute of every day about one thing. Appetite lured me in and had me eating out of the palm of its hand, it was an exploration and a very enjoyable journey with an important message, like Aristotle said: “moderation in all things”. Very thought-provoking!

I received a free copy of this novel from RedDoorPublishing in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green #BlogTour #Guestpost

The Single Girl's Calendar banner

Thank you Aria for inviting me for the blog tour of Erin Green’s new novel ‘The Single Girl’s Calendar’, a wonderful novel about overcoming heartbreak. I’m sharing a lovely guestpost today where Erin gives her special recipe to mend a broken heart!

The Single Girl's Calendar def

What’s it about?

A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30′ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.
Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

About the author

Green_ErinErin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. She writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and copious amounts of tea. Erin was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017 and previously, Love Stories ‘New Talent Award’ in 2015.

Contact Erin Green

Twitter (her favourite) @ErinGreenAuthor
On Facebook: @ErinGreenAuthor
Web Page:

Buy Links

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks


Erin’s recipe to overcome a broken heart

  • A handful of genuine friends that care about you is essential.
  • A tonne of chocolate helps to dull a painful heartache.
  • Carefully peel away, delete and disconnect all social media connections with the recent partner – why torture yourself following their away days and nights out?
  • A pinch of self-indulgence doing what you like and when you wish, is essential.
  • Unmeasurable amount of time spent doing interests/pastimes that you previously participated in and enjoyed.
  • Add a guilt-free pass to hibernate from all social situations, but only valid for the duration that is absolutely necessary, trust your instinct regards how long.
  • A huge dollop of me-time to reflect and heal before venturing to pastures new.
  • Add a brand-new outfit that makes you feel fabulous and wonderful – in preparation for the day when your renewed faith wishes to take flight.

I had lot of useless suggestions during my twenties when broken hearts seemed to be my penchant. Age-old advice revolved around red wine, match-making suggestions and fly-fishing amongst the bountiful fish in the sea were all totally unhelpful. If anything, they resulted in more heartache than the original situation.

As time went by, along with various beaus, I learnt what was best for me. It usually involved a damned good cry where I got to choose all the rules in relation to the duration, the frequency and the moping about on sofas. Seriously, I literally gave myself permission to grieve for what could have been, might have been and for the hurt that had been caused to me in the process. A diet of Cadbury’s chocolate and Lucozade is perfectly fine in such circumstances! A balanced diet of vegetables and fish can wait their turn!

I used to withdraw from social occasions too, I literally couldn’t abide doing the whole glad-ragging events where I was supposed to wear a huge smile and chat about inane subjects while dragging about a heavy heart that was smouldering inside my chest. All I’d do was watch the clock until I could escape to go home. Sadly, I found that the more I put on a brave face, others would incorrectly assume ‘oh she’s back on her feet’ – er, no, I’m simply going through the motions to please everyone else. Left to my own devices, I’d have chosen to be in my pyjamas for a stint of hibernation and reflection, with plenty of wound licking.

It would take a little while, sometimes a few weeks, on a couple of occasions nearer a few months but hey, I knew what was best for me. I only ever put my best foot forward when I knew I was ready to face the world and rejoin the party.

During my hibernation, I did usually return to the things that made me truly happy. The reading of favourite books was one such treat – Fitzwilliam Darcy has rebuilt my faith in others on more than one occasion. On the most desperate days, I’d simply adlib Elizabeth’s lines… guaranteed to make me feel better every time!

I valiantly fought and refused to attend those situations where people have secretly match-made during their lunch hours – thinking they know what’s best for you. I remember being invited to a house party where the host had virtually promised my hand in marriage to a police officer. It made for an uncomfortable evening, as everyone in the room knew and so watched as he chased, attempted to chat-up and woo me with an audience of twenty. Thankfully, I had a loyal friend who told me before the event as she felt it was unfair that this damsel-in-distress should be violated to grace another with match-making bragging rights and an unwanted date. It’s one reason why I never match-make, I know the downside.

And finally, when you are back on your feet don’t forget to tread carefully, there’s no race, simply take your time and be happy. The best things in life are worth waiting for, I promise.

Don’t forget to check out out the other blog stops too. There’s another stop today at Dash Fan Book Reviews !

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski #BlogTour #BookReview

Hydra def

What’s it about?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the northwest of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five key witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

amazon uk amazon com


Six Stories is listed as one of my favorite reads of 2017 so I’m very excited I’ve had the opportunity to read Hydra, the second novel by author Matt Wesolowski. This is a standalone novel but follows the same format as before: the exquisite idea of building up a story through the narration of several voices, each time providing new insights and a new angle. It never gets repetitive, on the contrary, with every new interviewee you get a better picture, a better perspective. It pushes you to refocus and adjust your own beliefs and thoughts, it makes you think. When you start reading you might believe this is pretty much a black and white story, she confessed to murder after all, but all the different podcasts that Hydra is made up of provide the perfect shades of gray and will ultimately shine a light on the reasons she committed such a horrendous crime.

I was instantly hit by a feeling of unease and creepiness when I started reading this novel. I’m pretty sure that whatever other review you might read you’ll read this again and again as well. It creeped me out so much, I had frissons running down my spine the whole time. I have not read a novel like Hydra before and it is in fact very different from my usual thrillers, much more atmospheric and the descriptions of the black-eyed children that Arla sees with eyes like soulless orbs scared me quite effectively. I would catalogue this novel under the horror genre more than thriller or mystery and I’m happy that I didn’t know this beforehand because I always thought I wouldn’t enjoy this genre. This novel just proved me wrong!

The whole vibe is heightened even more through Arla’s interest in playing games, games I’d laugh at if they weren’t taken so seriously by Arla. She genuinly believes that you can transition to another world when performing different rituals and that’s what she wants, escape her life here in some way. There’s only one catch, if you don’t do it right then something could come back with you… Even if you don’t want to believe any of it, the setting creates just the perfect sense of unease and a menacing, dark atmosphere that is carried on from start to finish.

The dark music Arla listens to and the messages she finds in the lyrics, the frightening Elevator Game she plays, her disturbing behaviour, her isolation in the family because she’s not so perfect as her little sister, the light it shines on her strict and pious parents.. all of it made me mull over and investigate its significance on my own. What is it that set her off, what were the signs that she wasn’t doing well? Hydra is a novel that you can really sink your teeth in, the possible triggers why she might have gone off the rails are all held up to the light and scrutinized and little by little we get to the core of the story. I  truly am a big fan of Scott King, the presenter of the podcast. He’s intelligent, dedicated and unstoppable. While he’s preparing his podcasts Scott is receiving threats to stop the series. It’s very mysterious who and especially why someone would want to put a stop to this and it was definitely an extra bonus that was added to the story.

In the end I actually felt sorry for Arla, a very surprising feeling that I marvelled at when the realisation hit me and something I couldn’t believe would be happening at all when I started reading this novel. I am also sure this didn’t have to end this way, which makes it so tragic and sad.

This truly was an amazing read to kick-off the year and one that will be lingering in my thoughts again for a long time. Hydra was everything I wanted it to be and more; I couldn’t have wished for a better sequel. A very recommended read!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Orenda Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Don’t forget to check the other stops on the tour as well, I’m sure you want to hear more so check out today’s other stop @Portable Magic ! 

Hydra blog poster 2018 FINAL